Have you ever wondered how to create the perfect presentation handout? You’ve been asked to give a speech, and you’re excited to give the best presentation possible. You put all kinds of preparation into putting together an amazing presentation, and finding the perfect examples to prove your points. Your presentation is infused with memorable anecdotes, terrific insights, great visuals and even a wry joke here or there. You’ve covered every possible angle – or have you? Have you thought about what handouts you’ll be providing to your audience? If you haven’t, then you haven’t covered all the must-haves of a great presentation. Speakers and lecturers usually give handouts after their speech, and having great handouts is crucial. It gives people the freedom to listen to your presentation instead of frantically taking notes. When they go home or back to their offices and to their lives, the handouts you provide will help them remember all the key points and highlights from your presentation, making your talk even more valuable. People are grateful for good handouts, and will remember you long after the talk ended.
The Successful Speaker’s Guide to the Perfect Presentation Handout
Don’t give out printed copies of your PowerPoint presentation slides
Don’t give out your slides as notes. This is a common move by speakers, and frankly, it’s a lazy thing to do. We’ve all been to presentations where we’ve received one of these – and when you get it home, you can’t make head nor tail of it.
Handouts like these are often filled with bullet points you can’t make sense of (unless you took notes to go with them). Because the print option fits six to eight screens onto one page, the notes and graphs are far too tiny to decipher. These printouts usually give you space to take notes, but not much, so you’re forced to squeeze your own notes into the tiny white margins.
Add a list of references for further reading
Your audience member will want to pick your brain. They want to know where you went to school, what kind of work experience you have, and most of all, where they can read more about your topic.
There’s a ton of resources out there, so instead of having your audience sort through them, just lead them in the right direction with your recommended reading. If the book is hard to find, or only available online, remember to include the link to where it can be purchased.
Include your contact details
If you’re giving an academic, personalized or sales-based talk, be sure to include your contact information.
Your name and email isn’t enough. If you’re on LinkedIn, include your name or URL, so that people can connect with you. List which social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, Google + and Instagram) you are on so people can follow you there.
Remember, everyone is online these days, and this will help you increase your own contact list as well.
Do make sure your handouts can stand alone
Ideally, you want to put together a take-home package of your presentation that can stand up on its own, even if someone who didn’t attend your presentation were to read it. Your handouts should summarize in key points your main arguments (and if possible, examples) as well as include quotes and sources.
Do consider adding a worksheet or action sheet
Depending on the type of presentation or speech you’re giving, you will likely have a call to action at the end, where you will encourage people to change or act on something related to your talk.
If a worksheet helped you implement these changes before, include it for your audience. Even a notes section located in the back of your handout will be handy in case your audience wants to jot something down.
What did your last handout look like? What will you change for next time? Let us know if you end up implementing any of these tips.
Michelle Riklan is president of Riklan Resources and an instructor for The Leader’s Institute® in the Northeast region. She is based in Trenton, NJ but she also conducts public speaking classes in New York, Boston, Philadelphia and other Northeast cities.